A handwritten note, scrawled in ink, adds a personal touch to each piece of jewelry that Jodi Henriksen sells. Tiny pieces of colorful glass are intricately assembled into miniature mosaics and fashioned by the artist into beautiful wall art, necklaces, bracelets, rings and belt buckles. Each piece comes with a personal message from Henriksen, revealing the reason why she makes her mosaic jewelry—Broken and Beautiful.
The concept developed nearly four years ago when the artist says, “My whole life was upside down. [It was] just the darkest, loneliest time.” During that time, Henriksen came across an estate sale. “I was looking at the antique furniture, and I opened one of the drawers, and it was completely full of little tiny glass shards,” the artist says.
The young woman running the sale told Henriksen that the shattered glass was leftover material from the woman’s aunt, who had worked with stained-glass and mosaics. Henriksen also discovered that the aunt had never married or had any children. “It seemed like I had lost so much in my life,” she says. “But I still had my five kids, and it just kind of hit me—oh my goodness, I still have this life. Her story just resonated with me.”
The Waconia resident returned to the sale and purchased all the glass. “And that’s what started Broken and Beautiful,” Henriksen says. “Because I wanted to give her a legacy; I think about her every day. I used her glass, and I wanted to make little tiny mosaics, so it would last a long time. That’s why I decided to make the miniature pieces.”
One of Henriksen’s mosaic pendants, Presence, features glass arranged as a miniature vase with a flower arrangement. She attaches a quote from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh—“Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware.” Each mosaic includes a note to the recipient revealing Henriksen’s story, adding, “The truth is that we are all broken. The precious good news is that we are also beloved, and we are beautiful.”
Renee Gothmann saw Henriksen's work at Art Wander, which celebrates artists in Carver County. “I went into a home where she was the guest artist. Her display was in the front living room, and it just stopped me in my tracks,” Gothmann says. “One of the very first pieces I bought that day was a beautiful blue ring, and it was called Waterlily.”
The ring was especially meaningful to Gothmann, as she wore it while holding her father’s hand while he was in hospice. “During those last days and the funeral, I twisted the ring apart out of grief, and it was broken,” Gothmann recalls. She asked if it could be repaired. Henriksen placed the ring in the middle of a larger piece for Gothmann to keep as a keychain. “Just the tenderness and heart that she showed in her work,” Gothmann says, “I really appreciated that.”
“One of the reasons the customers gravitate so much to (her) things is that she always has a definition on her jewelry like ‘passion’ or ‘strength,’ and people really connect to that,” says Meghan Menssen, owner of Unearthed Arts.
Henriksen views life as a series of events, some of which “are very broken places we all have to deal with.” Henriksen adds, “But most of my followers see that there’s beauty in that and beauty beyond that, and I think that’s what [my pieces] represent.”